I love DJing and facilitating Ecstatic Dance because it is the most powerful way I know to connect people. Sometimes we turn within and get in touch with what stirs inside us. Sometimes we share our dance with others and trade inspiration or motivation. No matter where we each focus, we are all expressing together. And not only that–this next part is key–we are also simultaneously witnessing and acknowledging one another. Whether directly or indirectly, the dancers also affirm each other’s expression and presence as a part of something co-created and ultimately greater than the sum of it’s parts.It is not uncommon for me to be moved to tears while DJing. I see people engaged in healthy activity, generating wholeness, and being human together in a life-affirming way. How could I not be deeply touched by people allowing themselves (and each other) to be free in moving their moment-to-moment truth through their bodies? And all the while bringing care and awareness to their effect on each other physically and emotionally? How could I not weep with joy at the sight of that?
Timeless Gypsy aka Jesse Hendricks is an undoubtedly talented artist. He brings a wealth of unique artistic and spiritual experiences, that have influenced his identification as a musician. Curious and intrigued by how Timeless Gypsy came to be, we asked him to share more about his musical evolution with us. Read his beautiful response below and catch him at the Ecstatic Dance Santa Cruz Monthly, this November 25th at the PCC.
My upbringing was truly a unique experience and did in fact influence my adult music career. I lived in a split family from the age of three and my parents were both involved in the music industry, yet the types of music and social setting for each of these realities was like night and day.
My Dad was living close to the church community and our family band actually offered Christian folk and original acoustic based music with many congregations across the southern states of the U.S. This was devotional music and our income came from the tithing bucket! At this time I was playing banjo on some tunes and my two brothers were adding bass guitar and fiddle. It was like the Partridge Family at times cruising around in a low budget, yet functional RV.
Playing music for the highest good. On the other side of the curtain was my Mom, who was managing and dressing such country acts as Linda Ronstadt, Dolly Parton, Emmylou Harris, and the Judds. I would get swept away on the tour bus and find myself hanging with the band on our way to Vegas or South Lake Tahoe to play some high end venue with lights and cigarettes and lots of money exchanging hands. I was starting to play drum kit at the age of 11 or 12 with the influence of my step father who was the drummer for Emmylou Harris at the time.
What a duality! The common thread was music though. I saw the dedication to the muse whether it was in a conservative baptist church deep in the heart of the Bible Belt or in a top notch recording studio in L.A. with hopes of another hit single. There was a commitment to learning your parts, practicing your instruments, jamming with others and ultimately having fun with this art form. As an adult now looking back on my childhood I see where my attention to detail in music production and dedication to playing and digging into my instrument knowledge comes from. Whether I was learning a bluegrass traditional song on the banjo or rocking out to classic Yes and Rush as I mimicked the drum parts in the basement, I was playing and hungry for more.
One of the joys of sharing my music with the free-form movement culture is that in this day and age the music is so diverse and cross pollinated that I can take all these lifelong influences and share them with uninhibited ears. The community feels the essence of that dedication and musicality of it all. As a multi-instrumentalist I can switch from bansuri flute to steel pans to banjo with trippy effects and create a sonic journey that is a “one of a kind experience”. I always find that I come back to a melodic and heart based core with my songs and this thread is what ties the greater . dance/movement tribe together.
May the story continue to unfold as these lifelong gems slowly integrate into the music of Timeless Gypsy.
Reigning from Australia, Dj Dakini is one of the most renowned underground female djs, with a global following & fanbase. Dakini currently specialises in “ancient future bass” and frequents the festival and ecstatic dance circuits of California and beyond. Currently playing all over the world, she is known to move any dancefloor with an infectious deep bassline & tribal sounds at festivals such as: Symbiosis Gathering, Lightning In A Bottle, Burning Man, Rainbow Serpent Festival & more.
Dj Dakini: I love taking people on an intentional dancefloor journey where the temple is the dance floor and the medicine is the music. There is a magic within entrainment, when everyone syncs with a beat – becoming greater than themselves as they embody being a part of a collective, expressing through movement, going beyond form and the mind.As a facilitator of transformational spaces, in all of the work I do in the world – to me ecstatic dance is an opportunity to let go and transform. When I dj ecstatic dance I am actually just being a conduit for the crowd – I engage energetically with the dancefloor, and what I play is guided by the dancers. Curating experiences for those dedicated to self transformation without the need for external substances, is my passion. I truly believe music has the ability to heal, and when you are held in a community with that medicine, anything is possible.
After curating and djing at events for almost 20 years, I find no more potent spaces of transformation than on an ecstatic dance floor. I am now dedicated to being in service to such gatherings, on a regular basis, in the ecstatic dance community. I’ve actually shifted my focus away from playing anywhere else – at this time on the planet, we need community spaces dedicated to transformation, available to the broader community.
Inner Rhythm, October 19th, 2017
Let us dance with the elements of Fire.
Transformation and Change.
Creation and Destruction.
Cleansing and Purification.
Power of Determination and Forging Will.
Inner Light. Divine Light.
Inner Rhythm, October 12th, 2017
The Art Of Connection, w/ Self & Others
As a foundation of this movement practice, how do we each find our way to our own center, and root ourselves in the energies of centered-ness and grounded-ness? And how do we maintain this connection with self as we explore and engage outwardly with others – on the dance floor, and in the daily dance? And finally, what are the avenues; the unspoken languages into connection that foster safety, authenticity, and respect?
Inner Rhythm, Sept 28th, 2017
In the midst of all the outer reflections and manifestations of realities around us and in our world… Perhaps as we breathe deeply into ourselves, and become more willing to feel all that’s here- because we are more resourced than we used to be, inside ourselves, because we have this movement, this avenue of creative expression where everything, where all colors are welcome to be unstuck, to be free, including all those colors that we tend to avoid- we will re-member what matters.
go within and
restructure the foundation of our manifestations
on a personal level and
feel our feelings and
un-damn the rivers
of energy in motion.
Our soul’s journey.
Open our hearts
let love go
let love flow
all those dark places
What worth is
the other option.
Gateways To Freedom ~ 7 Years
Perhaps, like the natural cycles of the Earth and our Universe, everything has it’s timing. In my life, as I have opened to this, I have been much more friendly and relaxed with myself; not beating myself up for not pursuing or fulfilling this or that passion or goal. Please don’t get me wrong. I am not going to let life pass me by waiting for the heavens to open up and to be showered with golden light to know that this is the time – that this is the time to really engage my life force energy in pursuit of my dreams. Rather, in a more relaxed way, I choose to recognize that everything has it’s right timing.
Perhaps, just as our body knows when to breathe, our inner knows when to act…
Before it was birthed into an actual offering to community, I held Inner Rhythm in my heart for 10 years, as an idea, as a passionate seed longing to break free from it’s shell made of the energies of gestation, of maturing, of soul-need, and of fear. Dance is my life. Dance gives me life. I was so afraid to bring something so intimate to my soul out into the world. Eventually, the pain of not bringing it out became bigger than the fear.
In July of 2010, I walked into the Santa Cruz Chi Center, our first home, and booked a date to start- it would be a Thursday, the Fall Equinox. Seemed like a good day to start.
I had spent a lot of those 10 years beating myself up and judging myself harshly for not starting. This was a deeply painful process. And sometime in that first year, I realized that I was actually not ready. I realized I was not ready because I had not had a mature enough relationship with my own ego to be able to hold a container in a high integrity way. I was not perfect. I’m not perfect now. I am learning a lot. In my life now, there is this thing. This thing that calls me. This thing that invites; and demands that I continue to source deeply, feel fully, show up vulnerably, and dance myself into the best person I can be.
Love all around,
If you could express yourself fully authentically, with total freedom, what would that look like? On the dance floor, and in the daily dance?
We will have a collaborative altar and everyone is invited to bring a sacred item to adorn it – perhaps something that signifies the importance of dance in your life. We will also have candles to light, to hold the light, for our intentions and prayers as we enter into the darker part of the year.
Inner Rhythm, Sept 14th, 2017
We are hard wired for connection. How can attuning to our own inner rhythm feed connections in our lives? In the dance, are we willing to connect with our inner selves, our practice, our community, and a greater creative force that moves us all?
Inner Rhythm is hosted and Dj’d by my dear friend Sarah Mackota this week.
Inner Rhythm, Sept 7th, 2017
“From Interiority To Conversation And Back”
As I was walking up Waddell Canyon on the North coast of Santa Cruz, away from the noisy, busy Highway 1 Labor Day weekend scene, I began to feel greeted and really welcomed by the natural beauty around me. I paused at the wetlands, and as the breeze made music through the tule and cattails, I received the invitation into my own breath, and into my own center. Still aware of the highway noise, I wondered how far, how deep into the canyon I would have to go to immerse myself in the quietude I was longing for. As I descended the other side of a gentle rise in the trail, I felt and heard the machine noise fall away and was greeted by the sound of a gurgling spring, the breeze in the trees, and again, my own breath. I was reminded of one of my favorite poems.
“… but this time alone
the invisible line
you could mark exactly
when you began to hear
the sounds of the road
and the machines of the blank
cries of everyday commerce,
so that for a moment you could
retrace that one single step
back into the Glen
and immerse yourself
in the quiet
source of revelation
you had felt
only a moment before,
as if underwater,
as if slipping back
into the river
of silence running between
the tree-lined walls
and then you could practice
returning in your own body,
through your own breath,
inward and outward,
entering and reentering the silence
and shelter of your own
narrow valley of aloneness,
Sligo Glen: Walking Out Of Silence
by David Whyte